But one thing that remains to be seen is how well the Video iPod will be received by adult entertainment enthusiasts in North America compared with Western Europe (where viewing erotica on cellphones has been a bigger, more widespread trend than in the U.S.). James Malach, webmaster for the London-based, fetish/S&Mthemed Skin Two magazine, has strong reservations about the Video iPod as a vehicle for erotic entertainment.
"Portable video players have been around for two or three years in one form or another, and the Video iPod is simply the latest in a long line of these," Malach said. "I think there will be an initial flurry of sales, but they will start to slow down once people realize that concentrating on a 2.5-inch screen for anything over 10 minutes will give you eye strain. People will also realize that Video iPods will be big targets for thieves. At least with normal iPods, people can keep them in their pockets while they're using them."
Malach's comments aren't coming from someone who works for a company that has an anti-Apple bias and is totally Windows-minded — quite the contrary. Skin Two editor Tony Mitchell said that the company is very Mac-centric, and while he envisions the Video iPod being used extensively for viewing mainstream material (including news, sports, sitcoms, soap operas and non-erotic films), he fears that the device may have serious limitations where adult entertainment is concerned.
"I can see the Video iPod having a lot of non-adult uses in public," Mitchell said. "People may well end up downloading news broadcasts or mainstream television programs and watching them on their Video iPods when they're riding the London Underground on their way to work. But on the whole, you wouldn't be able to use the Video iPod for viewing adult material in public. I don't think that most people in London will sit on the Tube watching adult material — either fetish material or regular non-fetish adult material — on their Video iPods any more than they're going to sit there reading an adult magazine. Too many people around them are going to see them."
Dr. Tuppy Owens, founder of the Sex Maniac's Ball and a founding member of Great Britain's Sexual Freedom Coalition, told XBiz that it's much too early to predict how receptive erotica consumers will be to the Video iPod in either North America or Europe. But she did say that she hoped the device would encourage more people to talk openly about sex; to Owens, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies are a direct result of people being afraid to discuss sex openly.
Owens, who lives in Scotland, told XBiz: "The thing that has struck me is that on the Suicide Girls website, they predicted that the Video iPod was going to bring porn out of the closet, out of the bedroom, off the computer and TV and into the public — and that it would help to sexualize society. If people are less embarrassed and secretive about sex that will make their behavior more responsible. Anything that takes sexual ignorance away is a good idea."